Help your employees maximize their health plan

If your employees are selecting a new health plan during open enrollment this fall, make sure they’re looking for extra benefits to get the most out of their health insurance.

Open enrollment is the time period every fall when your employees have added one more thing to their to-do list: planning for their health care needs for the upcoming year — and for any dependents if they have a family. While everyone’s heads may be filled with terms like copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits, make sure your team members are considering a plan that offers additional perks beyond the standard coverage.

Here are some extra services to be on the lookout for:

Virtual care options

It’s a Saturday morning, and your employee feels a sore throat coming on. Her doctor’s office is closed for the weekend, but she doesn’t want to risk a wait at an urgent care or a high bill for a simple illness. For times like this, virtual care is a great option. From a phone, tablet or laptop, employees can quickly connect with a board-certified doctor wherever and whenever they need care. Many doctors’ offices and hospital groups now offer virtual care to their patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Remember: for health emergencies, you should always go to the nearest ER or call 911). Be sure to check with your provider and health plan about virtual care services available to your employees.

Price transparency tools

If your employees are interested in saving money each year with a little planning upfront, make sure they’re considering a health plan that includes price transparency. Some insurance companies offer digital tools for members to estimate the price of medical procedures or prescription drugs so they can budget and plan the cost of their care. For example, at Priority Health, members can research their costs and control out-of-pocket spending with Cost Estimator. This transparency tool shows members what in-network facilities and pharmacies charge for health care services and prescriptions based on each member’s plan. The tool doesn’t just show a range in price; it’s personalized based on each member’s specific plan benefits. Find out if your health plan offers your employees price transparency options so they can take control of their health care costs.

Fitness benefits

Healthy employees are happier employees; it’s why so many companies offer various wellness benefits. Many health plans now are offering fitness incentives like gym memberships to help promote physical health and wellness. As one example: Priority Health employer group members have access to Active&Fit Direct. This program allows members to sign up for $25-per-month gym memberships. Members can choose from more than 9,000 fitness centers nationwide. Check with your health insurance provider to see what kinds of fitness and wellness benefits are included to keep your employees moving throughout the year.

Coverage for business travel

If your employees hit the road frequently for work travel, this extra benefit may be a must. Many health plans offer added travel assistance to their members. This eliminates the need to purchase additional, and often pricey, medical or travel assistance coverage. At Priority Health, members and their dependents have access to Assist America at no extra cost. It’s available whenever members are traveling more than 100 miles from home or in another country. Coverage includes:

  • Medical emergency services: Access to quality medical care including medical referrals, emergency medical evacuation, prescription assistance and more.

  • Travel emergency services: Help with lost luggage or documents, legal and interpreter referrals and care of minor children and pets when experiencing a travel emergency. Plus, pre-trip planning services including visa and immunization requirements, security and natural disaster alerts and more.

Multilingual, trained and emergency-dispatch certified assistance coordinators are available to help 24 hours per day, 365 days a year with one-touch access through the free app.

Vision benefits

Many insurance companies now include vision benefits at no added cost as part of plans. This could include options like a no-cost eye exam and discounts on glasses or contact lenses from top optical retailers. For example, Priority Health partners with EyeMed. Check with your health insurance provider and inquire about benefits to help your employees save money on seeing clearly.

Additional customized benefit options

Along with this list of the most common added benefits to a health plan, your employees may be interested in dental benefits, customized wellness programs, on-site care management for chronic conditions like diabetes and more.

Make sure to encourage your employees to look for added benefits when selecting a new plan during open enrollment to help them take control of their health, wellness and budget. Find out what your health care plan will cover to make sure you’re taking advantage of everything your plan has to offer.

Brian McLane has more than 15 years of experience in health care. As the senior director of product solutions at Priority Health, he is responsible for designing and managing health care products to meet the needs of employers and employees.

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